In The Art of Travel, De Botton suggested there are no more places left to discover. With the overwhelming amount of information available on each and every major destination around the world it is likely that I could discover the major landmarks just as well from my computer than walking through them. Of course travellers will argue that first-hand experience is what matters, even if millions of people have had the same opportunity. While exploring the best reasons to travel I had emphasized the quest for the “experience”:
The tourist that never leaves the beaten path is likely only exposed to an esterile experience that has been washed out of all its original power.
One could argue that the splendour of any famous landmark is constantly diluted by the ongoing attack of mass tourism, misguided by a market saturated of travel guides that most of the times reference the same top 10 or 20 landmarks not to be missed, while telling us every snippet of knowledge that travellers must know about these places, cancelling every attempt to make that experience unique.
The age of discovery is over. Every corner of our planet has been documented ad nauseam… [...]
Given the current economic trends in the travel industry, it is expected prices will drop in many fronts. From the analysis of the recent Competitiveness 2009 report we can even derive that some regions will have to try much harder to compensate for factors such as dependency from long-haul passengers.
In an effort to understand some of the key factors in the current hotel industry, I created a data set with the top 5% most expensive hotels and mapped their locations to determine which regions had the highest density of “exclusive” hotels. As it was to be expected the usual suspects are at the top of the list: London, Tokyo, New York City, Paris, Rome. The rest of the list has a good mix of modern, beach and historic cities: Venice, Miami, Los Angeles, Milan, Moscow, Florence, Cape Town, Osaka, Morocco, Maui, Cancun, Washington, Bali, Madrid. London has over 120 exclusive hotels while Madrid counted 20. Beyond that these exclusive hotels are scattered around the world. These images provide a general view of where in the world they are:
While calculating these “exclusivity hubs” I came across some other interesting facts: [...]
As we struggle to find ways to survive the current crisis and look at the leaders of the world to provide guidance, the latest Hub Culture 2009 Zeitgeist Ranking will come in handy as a tour of the cities that are better positioned to sustain an acceptable quality of life while providing plenty of opportunities to rebuild for the future. A zeitgeist reflecting the drama of our times:
its not really about the Obamas – its about the context of our changing expectations of government
Berliners become an enigma – povo at home, increasingly affluent abroad
Just ignore the noxious skyline as you watch the GDP growth rates, still hovering near 9%
LA’s fashion scene has stagnated, and the city’s hold on entertainment is slipping to diffusion by web 2.0
the principles of kaizen (continuous improvement) are shaping a really cool new Japanese ecovibe
The general attitude down under appears to be one of distant concern
Here, ‘crunch’ is in the quinoa, not in the financial vocabulary
The city is rich enough to sit out the bust, and it can always rely on China’s neighboring Guangdong province to drive the local economy
Hunger breeds innovation, because people actually have to think, plot and [...]
In their article “The 20 cities of 2020” Stefan Linssen and Christopher Sindik present a method for evaluating the cities taking sustainability to the next level and creating specific plans that will have them improve their overall status as a Global Sustainability Center by the year 2020.
While the article mentions the variety of factors that were considered, it is not clear what the evaluation methodology or how the scores were assigned, but there are plenty of notes about the various initiatives underway to make these cities worthy of their inclusion in this ranking.
Here is the list of the top 10 as ranked by their average score in 2020.
London – 9.3
New York – 9.28
Singapore – 8.85
Toronto – 8.75
Melbourne – 8.51
Curitiba – 8.3
Abu Dhabi – 7.96
Frankfurt – 7.9
Hyderabad – 7.63
Cape Town – 7.2
With such favorable prospects on any one of these cities, it may be worth investing a little time scouting them to become more intimate with their rhythm of life.
Further to my post on the 2008 Global Cities Index, here is another snippet from the report ranking the best cities to get some culture based on things like sporting events, concurrence of travellers, variety of their culinary offerings, art installations and performances.
and the rest of the list.
With the recent opening of the Art Gallery of Ontario, a controversial renovation of the Royal Ontario Museum and a brand new Centre for the Performing Arts, us Torontonians have forged our way into the top 10. But it makes you wonder how much this type of top 10 lists can fluctuate when you start adding other factors as part of the ranking such as:
average distance to nearby world heritage site,
number of cultural events programmed throughout the year,
affluence of visitors to major festivals,
foreign cultures with active representation in the city,
cumulative age of historic sites within city boundaries…